Removing Barriers Blog

DOJ Sends ADA Response to House
Posted September 26, 2018 by CUNA Advocacy

The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) this week regarding website accessibility for public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This letter is a response to the CUNA-supported letter sent on June 20, 2018, by 103 members of Congress calling on DOJ to provide clarity for website accessibility standards. 

In the letter, the Department outlined its general position on ADA website accessibility:

  1. DOJ has interpreted the ADA to apply the websites of public accommodations for over 20 years. 
  2. The absence of a specific regulation does not serve as a basis for noncompliance with the ADA statute.
  3. The absence of a specific regulation allows public accommodations “flexibility in how to comply with the ADA’s general requirements of nondiscrimination and effective communication.”
  4. Noncompliance with a voluntary technical standard for website accessibility does not necessarily indicate noncompliance with the ADA. 

However, as six U.S. Senators pointed out earlier this month, the past few years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of frivolous ADA lawsuits and demand letters. A trend that has directly resulted from the absence of a clear website accessibility standard from DOJ. 

CUNA continues to engage the DOJ to discuss the need for a solution, and has compliance resources available for credit unions.  Meanwhile, CUNA and the leagues have filed amicus briefs in support of credit unions facing frivolous ADA lawsuits, most recently in Georgia.